Mice lacking mdr1-type P-glycoproteins (mdr1a/1b [-/-] mice) display large changes in the pharmacokinetics of digoxin and other drugs. Using the kinetics of digoxin in mdr1a/1b (-/-) mice as a model representing a complete block of P-glycoprotein activity, we investigated the activity and specificity of the reversal agent SDZ PSC833 in inhibiting mdr1-type P-glycoproteins in vivo. Oral PSC833 was coadministered with intravenous [3H]digoxin to wild-type and mdr1a/1b (-/-) mice. The direct excretion of [3H]digoxin mediated by P-glycoprotein in the intestinal mucosa of wild-type mice was abolished by administration of PSC833. Hepatobiliary excretion of [3H]digoxin was markedly decreased in both wild-type and mdr1a/1b (-/-) mice by PSC833, the latter effect indicating that in vivo, PSC833 inhibits not only mdr1-type P-glycoproteins, but also other drug transporters. Upon coadministration of PSC833, brain levels of [3H]digoxin in wild-type mice showed a large increase, approaching (but not equaling) the levels found in brains of PSC833-treated mdr1a/1b (-/-) mice. Thus, orally administered PSC833 can inhibit blood-brain barrier P-glycoprotein extensively, and intestinal P-glycoprotein completely. These profound pharmacokinetic effects of PSC833 treatment imply potential risks, but also promising pharmacological applications of the use of effective reversal agents.